If you’re a brand novice to the world of Tea (or even an experienced veteran), there are moments when you are overwhelmed by the myriad of varieties, names, grades, and tea terms flying at you.

To make it easier to understand, we’ll start from the beginning and then break it down into bite-sized pieces of information. We’ll start with the six main varieties of Tea.

At the beginning of my journey, I believed that each kind of Tea, including green, black-white, oolong pu-erh, and yellow teas, resulted from unique, individual plants. However, I now know this isn’t true. Each process of processing determines the kind of Tea you drink.

Every Tea, regardless of the type, has eight similar processes: picking or plucking and sorting, cleaning primary drying, processing specific to the Tea being processed, final drying and firing as well as sorting according to grade and, lastly, packaging. Five-step – the process particular to the kind is the one that determines which of the six primary types of teas are being produced.

Other elements naturally will influence the Tea’s type, including the size of the leaf as well as climate, elevation, low or high-grown and the amount of water as well as the kind of soil, and the time of the season it’s harvested, each of which contributes to the final result.

However, the method of production and the amount of time it takes for the leaf to dry or oxidize is the most critical factor in determining the type of Tea being made. Suppose it’s a green-white or yellow tea with very little oxidation, a black tea (or Pu-erh) that is completely oxidized, or an oolong that offers a variety of oxidation and is regarded as semi-oxidized. It’s not the amount of oxidation that defines the quality of Tea.

Let’s take a short review of the six primary kinds of Tea:

Black Tea: The black teas are wholly oxidized and are typically divided into two groups: entire-leaf teas and broken leaf. Teas made from damaged leaves are divided by the wire mesh screen of various sizes, ranging from the most prominent, thickest leaf to the tiniest particles, also known as fannings or dust. Teas with broken leaves are usually used in tea bags and blends.

Green Tea is one of the biggest and often the most complicated of the six primary tea varieties. Instead of a grading system, green teas employ names as designations. With over 3,000 green Tea varietiesieved to be produced in China alone, it’s tough to track each particular name. Japan has also created green Tea; however, since they make fewer varieties, it’s much easier to distinguish every single one of their distinct styles.

To further confuse the issue, To make matters worse, there aren’t any uniform standards from one nation to another in Naming green teas, and every country employs its method of naming and identifying.

White Tea: Until the last few years, China was among the few countries that produced white Tea. They also have stunning Bai Hao Yin Zhen (or Silver Needle) and Bai Mei (White Eyebrow). However, Sri Lanka has entered the race through their Ceylon Silver Tips and Bai Mu Dan (White Peony), both as luxurious as the white teas of China. Several other countries are manufacturing white teas. However, they are not as good as the top producers of these two countries.

Oolong Tea: Both China and Taiwan produce exceptional Oolongs. The natural environment has provided both regions with ideal conditions for growth. The lengthy, meticulous manufacturing process gives the rest a variety of flavors and styles, from light and sweet to robust and hearty.

Yellow Tea: You probably have not heard much about it since it’s produced exclusively in China and is challenging to locate since it’s not made in any quantity. Because it’s somewhat obscure, it’s sometimes advertised and sold as green Tea, but it’s not intended to be.

This is a shame, as the yellow Tea is exceptional and has many of the same characteristics as green and white teas, but with an additional stage of processing that makes it stand out and distinctive.

Pu-erh Tea: Two varieties of Pu-erh are Shou Pu-erh, a style with a quicker aging time available as loose-leaf or compressed into cakes known as being cha. Sheng Pu-erh is the more aging style that is compressed into cha and various shapes. They are then stored in temperature-controlled rooms that age the Tea for between ten and fifty years.

It’s astonishing to consider that all six major kinds of teas start with the same freshly picked from the same plant; however, with a bit of help from nature and the nitty-gritty in the making of Tea, will end up being different teas that are unique to themselves.